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Emanuel details his first cuts, slashes $75 million in city spending

Greg H. 17 May 2011 No Comment
[This article was syndicated via RSS from Greg Hinz. The views represented do not necessarily represent those of the Chicago Daily Observer.]
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has detailed his first round of budget cuts, laying out $75 million in spending reductions and promising to make more soon.

   In a press conference at a West Side city work yard, the mayor snipped at management payrolls and outside contracts, reduced the number of city vehicles and said he would save by pooling purchases with the county and other government agencies.

  The biggest single efficiency, $31 million, will come from better management of federal grants. The new mayor said administrative costs will be cut and the city will do a better job of spending after leaving approximately $100 million in grants unspent in the past three years.

   "These $75 million worth of immediate savings to the 2011 budget are only the beginning," Mr. Emanuel said. "I am committed to stabilizing the city's finances in order to secure Chicago's long-term economic future."

   Watchdogs say the city now faces a shortfall of as much as $700 million in its 2012 budget, which must be proposed by early autumn.

   Mr. Emanuel repeatedly promised during his campaign to impose at least $75 million in cuts in this year's budget. On his list for today:

  * Cut senior management payrolls 10%, worth $5.5 million.

  * Reduce use of outside lawyers, $3 million.

   * Merge overlapping information-technology, purchasing and human-relations units across city government, $3.5 million.

  * Freeze all nonessential contract spending, $17.5 million.

  * Trim energy consumption, janitorial services and leased space, $5 million.

   * Fewer vehicles, $1.5 million.

   * "Better coordinate" traffic control and parking enforcement, $2.3 million.

   * Reduce conflicts between construction jobs conducted by the water and transportation departments, $5 million.

   * Return 60 injured laborers to work, in less physically demanding spots, $500,000.

   Stay tuned for more.

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